Japan issues suicide warning after death of Miss Sherlock actress

The death of actress Yuko Takeuchi follows recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their own lives.

Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]

Following the death of a popular actress on Sunday, Japan’s government is urging people to seek help if they are struggling to cope.

The death of Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40, shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their own lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides.

On Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case but noted that some people were struggling to cope during the coronavirus crisis.

“There has been an uptick in the number of suicide cases since July. We have to acknowledge the fact that so many people are ending their precious lives,” he said.

Kato, who was Japan’s health minister until earlier this month, urged people to use suicide-prevention hotlines and other services.

Takeuchi was a household name in Japan. She played the lead in the 2018 series Miss Sherlock on the Hulu-HBO Asia network, and also had a minor part in the 1998 Japanese horror classic Ring.

She had given birth to her second child in January.

“It came all of a sudden, and we are all stunned and saddened by the news,” her talent agency, Stardust Promotion Inc, told Japan Times.

Takeuchi had received numerous awards during the course of her career, including the Japan Movie Critics Award for Best Actress.

Earlier in September, another popular Japanese actress Sei Ashina died in an apparent suicide. In July, actor Haruma Miura is also believed to have taken his own life.

In May, reality TV show star Hana Kimura, 22, from the Netflix show Terrace House, also died, apparently following online abuse, making international headlines.

Last month, Japan reported nearly 1,900 suicides, up 15 percent from the same month last year.

In the first half of this year, there was a drop in the number of suicides in Japan. In 2019, the figure fell to a record low, which non-governmental groups attributed to increasing efforts on addressing the issue.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies